Kevin McCullagh writes: It’s a sign of the times when The Economist, the house journal of the global business elite, holds a conference in London on ‘design thinking’ (official Big Rethink site here). Having attended the conference, produced in association with The Design Council and held over 11-12 March, I was left wondering one thing: why is design thinking such a hot topic with business leaders, given that it leaves so many designers cold?
The conference’s brilliant chair, Vijay V. Vaitheeswaran, a global correspondent for The Economist and author of Zoom, began by throwing down a hefty gauntlet to design. He explained that the world faces crises on many different levels, not only economic and environmental: politicians and corporate leaders are also experiencing a profound crisis of trust and legitimacy. This, in turn, has triggered a loss of confidence in the old ways of doing things and has led business and governments to cast around for new ideas. As design thinking is offering itself up as a process to solve many of these problems, what has it got to offer? Gulp!
Well, I, for one, am excited by the challenge, and the opportunities such profile building gives the field….